1th March 2013
The fights kept getting louder. Ma and Pa were at it again.
“I am going out to play”, I shouted and ran out. I was ten years old, old enough to be by myself.
I found my peace playing in the garden of my house. The swings lifted my mood and my heart felt at ease.
It wasn’t always like this. Pa had a good job, but something known as the recession took it away. He works now for long hours at a job that does not pay the same.
Ma missed him but she was struggling with the expenses and her loneliness just added fuel to the fire.
It became quiet after a while. I couldn’t hear them anymore.
I saw my friend Susan across the yard. I waved at her and gestured her to come over. She sat in the swing next to me.
“They are at it again?” she asked. She was my friend, I didn’t have many friends, and she was the best among the few friends I had.
“Yeah, Ma wants to celebrate my birthday with everyone but Pa doesn’t seem to agree,” I shrugged.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“Funny thing –they haven’t asked me. Well, honestly I want to spend one day with them and maybe see the latest movie. I heard Spiderman is releasing this weekend.”
“So go and tell them and end it.” She insisted.
“Nah… They will think of another excuse to fight any way.”
Just then mom called out to me, “Josh”.
“Coming Mom” I cried. Susan got up and made her way towards her house.
“Catch you later birthday boy,” she said. I smiled and went in.
“Josh, Go pack your things. We are leaving.” Ma said
“Oh and where are we going?” I asked, expecting a road trip.
“We are going to your Nana’s house for some time, just you and me.”
“NO”, I shouted “I am not going and neither are you, Mom please. I don’t want anything for my birthday, please I… I … I… Just want dad and you together”. I had started sniffling trying to hold back my tears.
Ma stopped packing and looked at me; Pa had overheard the conversation and moved into the room.
She sat on the bed and brought me close to her “Josh, we are not fighting only about your birthday dear, there are issues that dad and I need to work out”, she said ruffling my hair.
“You are too young to understand things right now but dad and I think this is best for now” she said all the while rubbing her hands across my side.
I didn’t say anything. I just cried right there in her arms. Dad came over and hugged me as well.
“Please, I promise, I’ll do extra chores, I’ll do my homework, keep my room clean. But please don’t make me choose.” I sobbed and they held me tighter.
Dad said “Beth, I think we don’t need to rush with this decision. Let’s just wait for his birthday till the weekend. After that we can decide what needs to be done.”
Mom nodded and just like that, I got to be with my parents for a couple of more days.
1st March 2014.
“Josh, what do you want for your birthday?” asked Mom.
We have a new house now. We were staying with Nana for a full year. The “D” (Divorce) word was not spoken yet and I was on my best behavior.
I had tried to be there for Mom, held her while she cried at night. I spoke to dad more often and I could hear his tone change when he asked about Mom. I knew the love was there still.
Dad used to visit me, but not very often. His Job required him to travel but he had just paid off the loan for our house. They used to talk on the phone and I could see that mom really missed him.
“The usual mom. A day with you and dad, like the old times.” I said. Mom smiled and I knew everything would be ok.
Sometimes a break between relationships helps it to grow stronger. Some times.